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IDB loan to assist Panamanian students

IDB loan will assist Panamanian children

Inter-American Development Bank News Release
June 7, 2012 – News Release

IDB loan for US$70 million to benefit more than 38,000 Panamanian students

The Inter-American Development Bank approved a loan for $70 million to provide innovative educational infrastructure to 47 communities in Panama that will benefit more than 38,000 students. The goal is to expand educational opportunities and encourage students in marginal and indigenous areas to complete basic education.

More than a third of Panamanians between the ages of 13 and 17 do not attend school. Coverage levels are especially low for the groups targeted by the program. For example, in the Ngäbe-Buglé and Guna Yala indigenous administrative regions, only 43 percent of youths attend secondary school.

The IDB financing will be used to expand and equip 20 primary schools to include grades seven to nine and construct two model schools that will have innovative facilities and will employ a new pedagogical and educational management approach. These investments are expected to result in the matriculation of 10,000 new students from preschool through secondary school.

In addition, the program will providing 47 schools with classrooms designed to facilitate learning. The basic curriculum will be updated to prepare students for the challenges of the 21st century, and training and support will be extended to staff and faculty in school management, pedagogy, and curriculum content.

Only 62 percent of Panamanian schools have drinking water in Panama, compared with 77 percent for the Latin America and the Caribbean as a whole. Half have adequate sanitation, compared with 65 percent for the region

Studies indicate that the quality of a school’s physical environment directly affects both the motivation and behavior of teachers as well as learning, discipline, and attention levels of the students.

Schools benefiting from the program are located poor areas with high dropout rates in the provinces of Panamá, Coclé, Colón, Chiriquí, Los Santos, and the indigenous administrative areas of Ngäbe-Buglé and Guna Yala.

The financing was extended for a 25-year term with a grace period of four years and a variable interest rate based on LIBOR. Counterpart funding totals $10 million.

New release thanks to IDB website: http://www.iadb.org/en/news/news-releases/2012-06-07/panama-will-improve-school-infrastructure,10017.html

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PANAMA – The long awaited Panama-Canada Free Trade agreement will be signed in Toronto Canada on May 14th said Panama’s Commerce and Industry Minister Roberto Henriquez. The countries completed the agreement early this year and the agreement would give Canada immediate access to Panama’s markets and services while Panama’s access is tied to a deadline. Both countries need to ratify the agreements in order to start up trade. We were told that before the end of 2010 they would be operational.

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Fitch Upgrades Panama´s Investment Grade

Development: On 23 March the international credit ratings agency Fitch upgraded Panama from BB+ to BBB-.

Significance: The upgrade is a victory for the rightwing government of President Ricardo Martinelli, making Panama the fifth Latin American country to reach this category, alongside Brazil, Mexico, Chile and Peru.

It follows Martinelli’s recent tax reform which was aimed at increasing access to finance and reducing the cost of doing business in Panama. The reform, which takes effect in July, raises VAT from 5% to 7%, cuts income tax and reduces the corporate tax rate from 30% to 25%. That VAT increase move has been lambasted as regressive by unions and popular movements. As well as simplifying the tax code by abolishing over 30 duties, the reform cuts taxes on banks with assets of between US$100m and US$750m but raises taxes on those with assets of over US$750m.

Fitch singled out the tax reform as one of the reasons for the upgrade, along with Panama’s ability to weather the recent global financial crisis. The agency noted that despite the fact that Panama’s real annual GDP growth rate slowed to 2.4% in 2009, from 10.7% in 2008, it still had one of the highest growth rates in the region and amongst other BBB rated countries.

The upgrade could help Panama in its efforts to secure a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the US, which has been ratified by Panama but is pending approval by the US congress. Panama’s lack of tax transparency has been a major concern for the US.

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Speaking at the Live and Invest in Panama Conference

Speaking at the Live and Invest in Panama Conference

I was invited to speak at the Live and Invest Overseas Conference a while back in Panama City. The Conference was very well organized by Kathleen Peddicord and Lief Simon; attendees flew in mainly from North America for from several days to several weeks to explore Panama.

My subject this conference (I had spoken a number of times for previous International Living Conferences) was “Opening a Business in Panama – Our Experience”. We also set up an information table about Taboga Island and our B&B Inn Cerrito Tropical.

Conference Table for B&B Inn Cerrito Tropical

Conference Table for B&B Inn Cerrito Tropical

People often ask me, if not for financial gain, why do I speak publicly at these types of Expat / Investment conferences?
My answer is quite simply, I love the challenge of speaking to a large group, and the opportunity to speak about Taboga Island.

Expat

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We are usually not a news site but since our family is very closely connected to Japan and the Japanese community here in Panama, we decided to post this important bulletin related to both Panama and Japan from the Daily Yomiuri in Tokyo. Because of Panama´s importance in World Trade and strategic position not only for shipping, the Japanese have historically been very generous with both assistance and funding to Panama.

The Daily Yomiuri is one of Japan´s English news sites and a great way to keep up with what is happening in Asia.

Japanese Group to Finance Panama Canal Project

The Yomiuri Shimbun – Japanese financial institutions have agreed in principle with the Panama Canal Authority to provide 800 million dollars for a project to widen the canal to alleviate congestion in it, it was learned Saturday.

According to sources, of the 800 million dollars, the Japan Finance Corporation’s Japan Bank for International Cooperation will provide 400 million dollars, and Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp. and others will provide the remaining 400 million dollars through joint financing.

The Panama Canal is a major artery connecting the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean. However, the canal is chronically congested, causing a wait time of several days for ocean vessels wanting to enter it.

To help solve the problem, excavation of trenches along both sides of the 80-kilometer-long canal began in 2007, to be completed in 2014, the 100th anniversary of the opening of the canal.

The Panama Canal Authority plans to procure 2.3 billion dollars of the total project cost of 5.25 billion dollars from overseas, from such sources as Japanese financial institutions and the Inter-American Development Bank.

The Japanese financial institutions determined they would be able to recoup their loans as the Panama Canal Authority has begun raising the canal’s tolls, according to the JBIC’s Americas Finance Department.

Japan is the third most frequent user of the canal, following the United States and China. A consortium of Taisei Corp. and Mitsubishi Corp., both Japanese companies, and U.S.-based Bechtel Corp. has announced its plan to undertake the widening project.

With its completion, the shipping volume will double in the canal, and more types of vessels will be able to use it, including mid-size oil tankers and liquefied natural gas carriers in addition to the current container vessels.

The project is also expected to drastically reduce the time it takes to transport oil from Latin American countries, which is usually transported via the Cape of Good Hope off South Africa.

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Press Release
Source: Cerrito Tropical, Taboga Panama
October 17, 2008

PANAMA CITY RESIDENTS NOW HAVE A NEW CASUAL EVENTS LOCATION TO TOTALLY RELAX & UNWIND – CLOSE TO THE CITY ON TABOGA ISLAND.

RANCHITO del CERRITO is now open and ready to book Events or Casual Meeting Retreats. Offering Ocean and Garden Views from the Ranchito* as well as friendly, experienced, service personnel (remember, it´s not New York, this is kicked back and relaxed “island style”).

*Ranchito: An open area with a roof usually located in the countryside similar to cabaña, gazebo or palapa. Nowadays “ranchito” is often used as a name for casual restaurants.

This past weekend Ranchito del Cerrito held its special opening event. Ranchito del Cerrito is the newest addition to B&B Inn Cerrito Tropical Panama on Taboga Island. Created to offer more opportunities for guests and event hosts to enjoy the relaxing side of Panama while still having the flexibility of being close to Panama City. Groups can charter a private boat from Calypso to take them to Taboga, enjoy time at the beach and end their day with a private BBQ party before returning to Panama City. Or some guests may choose to stay over and vacation at B&B Inn Cerrito Tropical.

Relax and unwind by the beach in B&B Inn Cerrito Tropical on Taboga Island Panama.

Relax and unwind by the beach in B&B Inn Cerrito Tropical on Taboga Island Panama.

RANCHITO del CERRITO during a final construction meeting.

Ranchito del Cerrito Event Area during a construction meeting on Taboga.

Ranchito del Cerrito Event Area during a construction meeting on Taboga.

Reducing the stress in the hammocks before the opening BBQ event.

“Ranchito del Cerrito Recommendation for Stress Management:
Relax and unwind by the beach as guests of the B&B Inn Cerrito Tropical on Taboga Island Panama. Travel by scenic Calypso Ferry trip in 1 hour from Panama City. The local islander´s attitude for life: “No Stress, Amigo!””. B&B Inn Cerrito Tropical

Relaxing at RANCHITO del CERRITO on Taboga.

Relaxing at RANCHITO del CERRITO on Taboga.

The opening event lasted well into the night with music and great food. Attendees feasted on Guest Chef Fred´s 100% Homemade Southern Smoked BBQ and continued the next day when Private Chef Aristedes prepared his specialty, fresh corvina with signature creole sauce, coconut rice, and flan de la casa.

RANCHITO DEL CERRITO Opening BBQ, featuring Fred´s 100% homeade Southern smoked BBQ.

RANCHITO DEL CERRITO Opening BBQ, featuring Fred´s 100% homeade Southern smoked BBQ.

To hear more about the possibilities for any event, retreat or reunion you are planning let Cerrito Tropical know and they will customize a package to suit the occassion. To learn more about relaxing on a quaint Pacific beach island, check: the Cerrito website which has much more info on Taboga, Panama, thier B&B Inn, accommodation, activities, Calypso ferry schedules, and more.

NOTES FROM THE LITTLE HILLSIDE (CERRITO): “Many people write and ask us: What is Taboga Island Panama Really Like?
Here´s our view from Cerrito:
Taboga can be compared to a relaxed, stress free, Caribbean beach island blended with a Mediterranean fishing village, then picked up by the island gods and dropped into the Pacific only 1 hour from Panama City. Even many of the Caribbean Pirates made Taboga their Pacific base!” B&B Inn Cerrito Tropical

VISIT: If visitors or future event organizers are interested to check out Ranchito del Cerrito, reserve a lunch with Private Chef Aristedes to check out the RANCHITO personally, B&B Inn Cerrito Tropical (Tel:6489-0074). Prices from $6 – $10 pp for lunch or dinner.

For more information on events, fiestas, relaxing, Day Packages, and a no stress vacation, check the website: www.cerritotropicalpanama.com.
Tel: 507-6489-0074; 507-390-8999
Email: info@cerritotropicalpanama.com

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Haylie and Stu´s Wedding at Cerrito Tropical

Haylie and Stu´s Wedding at Cerrito Tropical


Wow, what an honor it was to be chosen to host Haylie and Stu´s intimate wedding event at our own Cerrito Tropical on Taboga Island.

It was our second exciting wedding event at Cerrito Tropical and for this one guests flew in from both the US and Canada to attend! Held just this past Saturday, August 23rd, the rain held off while the romantic couple were married in a small park located at the beach. After the English service the newlyweds ran down to the beach and took a swim fully clothed! It surprised everyone.

The event was certainly the sweetest wedding I have ever attended. The idea was Haylie´s (the bride ) and she did a super job of organizing everything from abroad, with terrific assistance of her friend Eli in Panama. Food was catered by Aristedes and was a simply delicious Tabogan Island feast. I talked to many of the 40 some guests and they all enjoyed themselves, Cerrito Tropical, our service, and Taboga. I wanted to get some of the photos up as soon as I could. More to come…

Congratulations to Haylie and Stu!

Bride-and-bridesmaids-on-their-way-to-the-beachside-park

Bride-and-bridesmaids-on-their-way-to-the-beachside-park


Wedding service at taboga beachside park

Wedding service at taboga beachside park


Newlyweds-heading-for-the-beach

Newlyweds-heading-for-the-beach


tres-leches-tropical-wedding-cake

tres-leches-tropical-wedding-cake


tropical-wedding-panamanian-buffet

tropical-wedding-panamanian-buffet

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